Repeatability of free-burning fire experiments using heterogeneous natural forest fuel beds in a combustion wind tunnel

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Sullivan, Andrew ORCID ID icon; Mulvaney, Joshua; Cary, Geoff; Bishop, Glenys


2016-04-04


Journal Article


International Journal of Wildland Fire


25


5


445-455


Combustion wind tunnels are often used to investigate the propagation of free-moving fires through solid-phase fuels. However, the results of such studies are difficult to apply directly to wildland fire situations due to the disparity between the standardised ‘artificial’ fuel beds typically used in combustion wind tunnel experiments, and the heterogeneous fuel beds found in the field. In order to explore the feasibility of using heterogeneous ‘natural’ fuel beds in subsequent combustion wind tunnel experiments, this study quantified the variability in forward rate of fire spread resulting from the use of heterogeneous natural fuel beds in a combustion wind tunnel under a given set of burning conditions. The experiment assessed the effects of fuel type and air speed, and controlled for the effects of fuel moisture content, fuel load and fuel particle size. It was found that the variability in rate of spread increased with mean rate of spread, but that the overall residual variance (σ_e^2 0.028, s.e. 0.011) was low compared to the effects of air speed and fuel type. This demonstrates that heterogeneous natural fuel beds can be used in combustion wind tunnel experiments without introducing a large degree of variability, obscuring the effects of the experimental treatments, or requiring large sample sizes.


CSIRO Publishing


bushfire, wildland fire, wildfire, fire behaviour, CSIRO Pyrotron, laboratory experimentation.


Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified


https://doi.org/10.1071/WF15068


Link to Publisher's Version


EP152010


Journal article - Refereed


English


Sullivan, Andrew; Mulvaney, Joshua; Cary, Geoff; Bishop, Glenys. Repeatability of free-burning fire experiments using heterogeneous natural forest fuel beds in a combustion wind tunnel. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 2016; 25(5):445-455. https://doi.org/10.1071/WF15068



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